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See also: prévention


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prevent +‎ -ion. Compare French prévention.



prevention (countable and uncountable, plural preventions)

  1. The act of preventing or hindering; obstruction of action, access, or approach; thwarting.
    a fire prevention campaign
    • c. 1599, William Shakespeare, Julius Caesar, Act III, Scene 1,[1]
      Casca, be sudden, for we fear prevention.
    • 1672, Robert South, Sermon Preached at Christ-Church, Oxon. before the University, in Twelve Sermons Preached upon Several Occasions, London: Thomas Bennet, Volume 3, p. 222,[2]
      But no Man Pities another for any Evil lying upon Him, which he would not help, but which he could not. One is his Burden, the other his Choice; Vertually at least, since he might have Chosen its Prevention.
  2. (medicine) Any measure intended to limit health-related risks (such as information campaigns, vaccination, early diagnosis etc.).
  3. (obsolete) The act of going, or state of being, before.
    • 1627, Francis Bacon, Sylva Sylvarum: or A Naturall Historie, London: William Lee, III. Century, p. 59,[3]
      It is generally knowne and obserued, that Light, and the Obiect of Sight, moue swifter than Sound; For we see the Flash of a Peece [i.e. firearm] is seene sooner, than the Noise is heard. [] And the greater the Distance, the greater is the Preuention: As we see in Thunder, which is farre off; where the Lightning Precedeth the Cracke a good space.
  4. (obsolete) Anticipation; especially, anticipation of needs, wishes, hazards and risks
    • c. 1590, William Shakespeare, Henry VI, Part 2, Act II, Scene 4,[4]
      [Suffolk, York and Beaufort]
      Have all limed bushes to betray thy wings,
      And, fly thou how thou canst, they’ll tangle thee:
      But fear not thou, until thy foot be snared,
      Nor never seek prevention of thy foes.
  5. precaution; forethought.
    • 1659, Henry Hammond, A Paraphrase and Annotations upon All the Books of the New Testament, London: Richard Davis, The Gospel according to S. LUKE, Chapter 14, verse 3, p. 238,[5]
      And Jesus [] by way of prevention asked a question of the Doctors of the law and Pharisees that were present, saying, Is the working of a cure on a sick man a thing forbidden, and so unlawfull to be done upon a sabbath day?

Derived terms[edit]


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  1. Genitive singular form of preventio.